Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

aevan

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 5, 2015
3,883
5,872
Serbia
Ok, so I immediately liked the Touch Bar, but at first I didn't use it much. However, after setting it up the way I like, now I use it all the time, and it's actually super useful. Please note, these are my personal preferences and opinions which I give in hopes of helping someone. This is not meant to be a debate whether you think the Touch Bar is a gimmick or that the MBPs are overpriced, etc. If you don't care about the Touch Bar, skip this post!



1. The Expanded Control Strip is really useful when set correctly. If you don't use Function keys much, then you can use the Fn key to invoke the Control Strip. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard and change Press Fn key to Expand Control Strip. This makes it more accessible and turns it into an interactive keyboard shortcut, rahter than something you have to press twice to activate and press once more to close.

tb_settings.png


2. Customize the Control Strip. Since you can use the brightness/volume buttons in the non-expanded Control Strip (just press and slide, no need to do two presses), you can throw out volume and brightness buttons from the Expanded Control Strip. I put Screenshot and Keyboard Input buttons, for example. The Screenshot button is great, it lets you modify all the parameters on the Touch Bar (region, Window, Full Screen and destination) and it remembers the last you used. If you make a lot of screenshots like me, this is super useful. Also, the Input button is great, as it not only allows you to change languages, it also shows you what language is active.

3. TouchSwitcher app. This is really great - it's basically an app switcher and the Dock at the same time, in your Touch Bar. The app is free and is really well done.

https://hazeover.com/touchswitcher.html

4. Better Touch Tool with Touch Bar support (Alpha) - for a few dollars, you can buy the useful BTT. Now it's even more great, with the Touch Bar support added. It's still in Alpha (download the Alpha version to use it) but I found no real bugs using it. It allows you to customize the Touch Bar and create buttons for it that act as keyboard shortcuts or even gestures. It is app specific, so you can set shortcuts for each app. Yup, now you can add all your spells in WoW or add Photoshop shortcuts (until the official Touch Bar support is available by the end of the year)

Download the latest Alpha version here: http://boastr.net/releases/btt1.951.zip

If you want to disable TouchSwitcher and Better Touch Tool, just quit them. Also, they cannot work simultaniously. I use TouchSwitcher and activate BTT if I want to use it in a specific app, like Photoshop.


Hope this helps!
 

537635

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2009
904
808
Slovenia, EU
Great tips! Thank you. Looking forward to getting mine in the next few weeks. Especially with the fact, that BTT supports it. Wow.
 
  • Like
Reactions: R.P.G

WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2016
620
426
Ok, so I immediately liked the Touch Bar, but at first I didn't use it much. However, after setting it up the way I like, now I use it all the time, and it's actually super useful. Please note, these are my personal preferences and opinions which I give in hopes of helping someone. This is not meant to be a debate whether you think the Touch Bar is a gimmick or that the MBPs are overpriced, etc. If you don't care about the Touch Bar, skip this post!



1. The Expanded Control Strip is really useful when set correctly. If you don't use Function keys much, then you can use the Fn key to invoke the Control Strip. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard and change Press Fn key to Expand Control Strip. This makes it more accessible and turns it into an interactive keyboard shortcut, rahter than something you have to press twice to activate and press once more to close.

tb_settings.png


2. Customize the Control Strip. Since you can use the brightness/volume buttons in the non-expanded Control Strip (just press and slide, no need to do two presses), you can throw out volume and brightness buttons from the Expanded Control Strip. I put Screenshot and Keyboard Input buttons, for example. The Screenshot button is great, it lets you modify all the parameters on the Touch Bar (region, Window, Full Screen and destination) and it remembers the last you used. If you make a lot of screenshots like me, this is super useful. Also, the Input button is great, as it not only allows you to change languages, it also shows you what language is active.

3. TouchSwitcher app. This is really great - it's basically an app switcher and the Dock at the same time, in your Touch Bar. The app is free and is really well done.

https://hazeover.com/touchswitcher.html

4. Better Touch Tool with Touch Bar support (Alpha) - for a few dollars, you can buy the useful BTT. Now it's even more great, with the Touch Bar support added. It's still in Alpha (download the Alpha version to use it) but I found no real bugs using it. It allows you to customize the Touch Bar and create buttons for it that act as keyboard shortcuts or even gestures. It is app specific, so you can set shortcuts for each app. Yup, now you can add all your spells in WoW or add Photoshop shortcuts (until the official Touch Bar support is available by the end of the year)

Download the latest Alpha version here: http://boastr.net/releases/btt1.951.zip

If you want to disable TouchSwitcher and Better Touch Tool, just quit them. Also, they cannot work simultaniously. I use TouchSwitcher and activate BTT if I want to use it in a specific app, like Photoshop.


Hope this helps!

That is very helpful indeed, thank you!

Are you having any issues configuring the TB for Mail? For instance, I added font settings as shortcuts to the TB when composing and yet they do not appear in compose mode. In addition, now if I go to View-Customise touch bar whilst composing an e-mail nothing happens at all - the menu doesn't even open. It's as if the compose part of Mail is now cut-off from the TB.

Very odd behaviour.
 

phloo

macrumors regular
May 23, 2016
178
252
How do you add Screenshot and Input buttons? I can't find them or I am blind :)
 

aevan

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 5, 2015
3,883
5,872
Serbia
How do you add Screenshot and Input buttons? I can't find them or I am blind :)

In System Preferences click Keyboard, then click the Customize Control Strip button.

Screenshot%202016-12-04%2015.22.06.png



Please note to add them to the Extended Control Strip, extend the strip by pressing the < arrow (next to the brighness, sound and siri buttons on the right)

touchbar_hero_2x.png


and then drag the buttons you want.

Screenshot%202016-12-04%2015.21.41.png

[doublepost=1480861858][/doublepost]
is touch switcher even better than cmd + tab lol

Well, depends on your habits. It's actually a bit faster for me, because I can just tap the app I want and not move the selection with the cursor keys (or by cycling cmd+tab). And don't forget, it's also a dock - so it's great for launching apps too. And it's super cool :) But, of course, it's perfectly fine to use cmd+tab instead.
[doublepost=1480861932][/doublepost]
This thread, man! About time someone posted something useful about Touchbar instead of people complaining for attention ;))))

Thanks! ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: kazmac

kazmac

macrumors G4
Mar 24, 2010
10,007
8,460
Any place but here or there....
While I am not in the market, but I really appreciated this thread. It is always helpful to see users actually working with the tech. When I played with the touch bar at the store it immediately reminded me of the Windows keyboard I use at work (some helpful shortcuts).

Thanks for posting this positive thread.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aevan

aevan

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 5, 2015
3,883
5,872
Serbia
That is very helpful indeed, thank you!

Are you having any issues configuring the TB for Mail? For instance, I added font settings as shortcuts to the TB when composing and yet they do not appear in compose mode. In addition, now if I go to View-Customise touch bar whilst composing an e-mail nothing happens at all - the menu doesn't even open. It's as if the compose part of Mail is now cut-off from the TB.

Very odd behaviour.

Haven't notice these issues. I tried adding font settings to the compose window and wasn't able. Not sure - if you can explain what you did, I can try it. But I haven't notice any issues with the TB so far. I noticed some people say it's buggy, but I am yet to encounter a bug.
 

WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2016
620
426
Haven't notice these issues. I tried adding font settings to the compose window and wasn't able. Not sure - if you can explain what you did, I can try it. But I haven't notice any issues with the TB so far. I noticed some people say it's buggy, but I am yet to encounter a bug.

It's no doubt a glitch that will be remedied with updates but here's what I did -

In compose mail
View-customise touch bar
Removed send button
Added font buttons - the set of three

Then I composed an e-mail and went to use my font shortcuts
TB became non responsive and when I restarted mail the font shortcuts were gone

Now I don't have word suggestions in compose either - only works in the various address and subject fields.

If I try to customise shortcuts for compose I am no longer offered font buttons. Settings say suggested words is activated but it's not offered in compose.

So TB seems to be nonconfigurable in compose now.
 

Macalway

macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2013
3,204
1,651
After all the screaming and moaning about this thing being 'distracting, gimmick, redundant, useless, boring, overpriced add-on), in the end it's just another level of control.
 

Karnicopia

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2015
467
329
Thanks for the tips I did take out the sound and display buttons on the expanded toolbar, didn't really think about it but since the controls are already on the short toolbar it is kind of redundant. So I replaced with the screenshot, desktop, DND, sleep and spotlight. I kept spotlight in the same spot as Siri on the short bar so if I want to do voice search or text it's consistent.

That better touch tool sounds great as well I'll have to check that out. Sounds like most of what I'd want to do with the toucher as far as customization. Overall I'm finding little ways the touch bar helps out like opening tabs is now easier because I can open a new tab and pick a favorite and get 90% of where I want to go in two taps. I think it is easier switching between tabs because I can usually get right to the tab I need in one click. The music controls on the touch bar are awesome, no matter what is playing where I click on that one button and get pretty much full audio control. I have used the suggested words once or twice and yeah it's pointless most of the time but convenient when you do need it. Like trying to spell Albuquerque or something. Watching full screen video and scrubbing is really nice. I guess that's the main areas I'm using it now but it has been pretty convenient.

I think there is a lot of potential there with the touch bar but I think Apple does have to make a magic keyboard that has a touch bar so that the technology can be implemented across the platform. It's kind of like the xbox one and the camera, if everyone had one it would have been supported across the platform but if it's something only a portion of the user base has developers aren't going to sink too much time into supporting it. Magic keyboard with touch bar pretty much solves any fragmentation issues so hopefully they do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aevan

phloo

macrumors regular
May 23, 2016
178
252
thanks @aevan - on the german settings page it says something totally different but the icons are the same! good advice :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: aevan

Macalway

macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2013
3,204
1,651
It would be nice to be able to toggle the extended bar with the fn key.


I'm wondering if this thing is capable of vertical sliders. This would just be compressed sliders without a visual element, but you could line up whole bunch of them.
 
Last edited:

Capt T

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2010
968
250
Thanks for posting this. Will definitely check out the Better Touch Tool app to see if it will be useful to my workflow in my CAD app and others that will be slow to adapt.
 
Jul 4, 2015
4,488
2,549
Paris
I set the Touchbar to only show App Controls.

Control Strip is set to appear when I press fn.

Now it's impossible to accidentally hit Siri and I save some battery life.
 

Mathias Denichi

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2013
451
636
I commend you for being very helpful, but it's circle jerk of trying to make this dumb tech useful. The touchbar is the iPhone 5c of the MacBook. The most useful feature is skipping YouTube ads, because most any of this stuff can be done with a keyboard shortcut or a click of the giant trackpad.
 
Jul 4, 2015
4,488
2,549
Paris
I commend you for being very helpful, but it's circle jerk of trying to make this dumb tech useful. The touchbar is the iPhone 5c of the MacBook. The most useful feature is skipping YouTube ads, because most any of this stuff can be done with a keyboard shortcut or a click of the giant trackpad.

Once your brain memorises when or where the touch keys appear then muscle memory takes over. It's faster then keyboard shortcuts for certain functions and your hands never leave the keyboard to fiddle around with the trackpad and cursor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aevan

aevan

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 5, 2015
3,883
5,872
Serbia
I commend you for being very helpful, but it's circle jerk of trying to make this dumb tech useful. The touchbar is the iPhone 5c of the MacBook. The most useful feature is skipping YouTube ads, because most any of this stuff can be done with a keyboard shortcut or a click of the giant trackpad.

I don't know, I'm really finding more and more use for it. To each their own, I guess. Either way, I don't want to get into an argument over it, there are plenty of those around the forums.
 

runner77

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2016
91
68
Berlin
Once your brain memorises when or where the touch keys appear then muscle memory takes over. It's faster then keyboard shortcuts for certain functions and your hands never leave the keyboard to fiddle around with the trackpad and cursor.

That's exactly what will happen. Muscle memory will kick in for the most used apps, from that point shortcuts don't cut it anymore, they would be more complex for these operations/tasks to execute.
 

blackberrycubed

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2013
669
705
I commend you for being very helpful, but it's circle jerk of trying to make this dumb tech useful. The touchbar is the iPhone 5c of the MacBook. The most useful feature is skipping YouTube ads, because most any of this stuff can be done with a keyboard shortcut or a click of the giant trackpad.
I agree with you.

Touchbar is pretty useless. A polished turd is still a turd.
[doublepost=1480877532][/doublepost]
I don't know, I'm really finding more and more use for it. To each their own, I guess. Either way, I don't want to get into an argument over it, there are plenty of those around the forums.

Apple employee or apologist ? both ? is that you Phil Shiller?
 

Mathias Denichi

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2013
451
636
I don't know, I'm really finding more and more use for it. To each their own, I guess. Either way, I don't want to get into an argument over it, there are plenty of those around the forums.
I'm happy for you and any one who finds use of the touch bar. Thank you for making this thread and trying to help people with it. I prefer a touch screen but others will use the touch bar, and that's why capitalism and competition is great, choices.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aevan
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.